The Bihar government will take strict action against those guilty of murdering a Gaya man in a road rage incident, chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday but appeared defensive about mounting protests against the main accused, a JD(U) legislator’s son.
Legislative council member Manorama Devi’s son Rocky allegedly shot dead a Gaya trader over a late-night tiff on overtaking, triggering a wave of condemnation and opposition allegations that the government was losing its grip on law and order.
“Police has already swung into action. There will be no laxity in bringing the culprits to book. For how long can anyone run from the long arm of law,” Kumar said, adding “raids are on to nab the accused.”
But he appeared to bristle when asked the government was considering action against the JD(U) MLC. “What action can be taken unless investigations reveal her involvement,” he shot back.
The comments came on a day shops remained shut in Gaya as the town observed a bandh with the local BJP legislator taking out rallies against the state government. Rocky’s father and bodyguard, who were in the car with him, were remanded to judicial custody for 14 days.
Since storming to power last October, the Grand Alliance government – comprising the Janata Dal(United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress -- has been repeatedly embarrassed by legislators courting controversy.
Grand Alliance leaders have been accused of misbehaving with women, abduction, rape, and flouting the law in the past eight months, giving the BJP ammunition to attack the government. The Opposition says Bihar is witnessing the return of Jungle Raj, a reference to RJD chief Lalu
Prasad’s tenure as CM that is notorious for a law and order breakdown and party strongmen running amok.
Kumar has repeatedly dismissed these allegations and said on Monday that police had full freedom to investigate. “The Inspector General of Police is monitoring the case. A special investigation team (SIT) has been constituted.”
He admitted he felt bad about such occurrences but said no one had control over crime. “Who can guarantee that no criminal incident will take place? There are many facets to a crime. The law will take its own course. My job is to ensure this,” he said.
The bodyguard has been suspended and a departmental proceeding has been being initiated against him. “This is a criminal act and legal action will also be taken,” the CM told reporters.
Kumar was also critical of the BJP for its attempt to attach an “angle” to an act of crime. “It is more important to bring the culprit to book than to ponder over the person involved. We attach more importance on ‘what’ happened than ‘who’ is involved. This helps us to deal with the situation with an even hand,” Kumar said.